Before asking for any outside advice from friends, family, or even beta readers one of the most fundamental things you can do as an author is re-read your own manuscript looking for the little things… sure, it’s easy enough to see an ‘oops’ like the wrong name written down for a character (I had a client change the name of one character part-way through and needed to clean up the transition but hadn’t bothered to re-read his own work first!), but what about suddenly using a term you haven’t explained?
I did that recently.
You see, in my head I started referring to the potion a Dark Witch made (to help out the main character) as Nora’s Anti-venom… and then it was as natural as breathing to have it crop up in the writing – but after my initial read through, I realized I had done this and now had to find the right place in order to introduce the term.
It’s a small, nit-picky, hiccup of a thing that might get overlooked by any given reader but that doesn’t mean I should let it go. Whether you’ll be submitting your manuscript to agents & publishers or self-publishing, your work needs to be polished – no niggling questions or mars to make anyone second-guess the wonder that is your manuscript.
How exactly to we catch these niggly little hiccups?
You don’t need to stand on your head and read your manuscript upside down! You know the answer, I know you do… give it time. Put your manuscript away for at least a week and then you’ll surprise yourself with two things:
- What a great story you’ve written.
- How many little things you missed.
Once you fix those little things, your story won’t just be “great” it’ll be fantastic and you can sigh with relief.